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But the day before, she rang to say she had changed her mind and wouldn’t be going after all.

This meant he was left to pay for the whole trip, so he went on his own because it was too late to cancel.

Create a profile with many photos The first thing you need to do is to create a profile with your definition about finding date, personality and what you seek.

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The word ‘separated’ can often be translated as ‘still living in the family home and sleeping with my wife’.

One divorced man of my age, who has been on these sites for six years, said that the first woman he met was £50,000 in debt, another wanted him to give her £350 to get her car out of the garage and a third hadn’t mentioned that she had severely impaired vision — the ultimate blind date.

The idyllic cottage was monstrously untidy, littered with papers, dusty and dirty and he was fusty and not very clean either.

I couldn’t even face drinking a cup of coffee there, let alone anything else. At least 25 per cent of men who go onto these sites are married and wanting a fling rather than a serious relationship.

Once you are retired, widowed or divorced, it feels all but impossible.

Yet on internet sites, there are dozens, hundreds, possibly even thousands of single people seemingly just like you, all looking for that special person to alleviate their loneliness and provide excitement and companionship for their later years.

Henning Wiechers, who conducted the recent survey on behalf of Metaflake, the vast German online dating agency, claimed that when people are too old to go clubbing, they need to access a second marriage market — and that the internet provides the perfect forum. While online dating is certainly booming in popularity — the industry is worth £170 million in the UK, with nine million of us now logging on in the hope that we will find somebody, otherwise unreachable, who will be just right for us — my experiences should serve as something of a warning to others looking for love online.

After my partner died, I thought to myself: ‘Online dating is the modern way to go.’ I was pretty certain I would soon find my ideal person, somebody clever, witty, good-looking, successful, excellent company, open to new ideas, well-read and with a sense of purpose in life.

Indeed, somehow, the exciting, available, baggage-free, super-bright, glamorous, successful age-appropriate people of both sexes, the kind you’d love to meet for a fantastic evening, if not for a lifetime, are in short supply or non-existent.

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